Each year, one player from each league is voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America to be the Rookie of the Year. Of the 146 players ever named Rookie of the Year, 16 have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The award was first issued nationally in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and had one of the best rookie seasons in MLB history. Robinson batted .297 and got on base at a .383 clip. He scored 125 runs and stole 29 bases. In 1987, the Rookie of the Year Award was renamed to be called the Jackie Robinson Award. Here is a list of the best rookie hitting seasons in MLB history (after 1947).
Mike Trout- 2012
Best player in baseball Mike Trout had an unbelievable rookie season. Called up at the end of April, Trout would go on to hit 30 home runs, steal 49 bases, bat .326, and get on base at a .399 clip. Trout scored 129 runs, and his fWAR of 10.1 led the American League. Trout was the first rookie to ever hit 30 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season.
Fred Lynn- 1975
In 1975, Boston Red Sox centerfielder Fred Lynn became the first player win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. No rookie would do that again until 2001, when 27 year old Ichiro took home ROY and MVP honors. Lynn had a .331 BA, .401 OBP, and hit 21 home runs. He led the American League in doubles, runs scored, and slugging percentage. Lynn even won a Gold Glove to top it all off.
Albert Pujols, one of the best players of the 2000s, started his career with a bang. Pujols hit .329 with a .403 OBP. He hit 37 home runs for the season, and had 20 before the start of July. Pujols drove in 130 RBI, a National League rookie record. He finished 4th in MVP voting. Pujols was unanimously picked for NL Rookie of the Year.
Mark McGwire- 1987
In 1987, Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics hit 49 home runs his rookie season, breaking Al Rosen’s rookie home run record of 37. McGwire would hold that record until Aaron Judge in 2017. McGwire’s 49 home runs led the American League, while he was tied with Andre Dawson for the MLB lead. He led the majors in slugging (.618) and ended up with a .370 OBP. McGwire was unanimously picked for AL Rookie of the Year, and finished 6th in MVP voting.
Aaron Judge- 2017
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hits monster dingers. In 2017, Judge hit 52 home runs, the most in rookie history (also led the entire MLB that year). He led the American League in runs scored (128) and walks (127-also the rookie record). Judge got on base at a .422 mark. His 8.2 fWAR led the entire MLB. Judge was unanimously voted AL Rookie of the Year, while finishing second in MVP voting to José Altuve.
Dick Allen- 1964
Dick Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies hit 29 home runs, scored 125 runs, and drove in 91 RBI during his rookie season in 1964. His batting average was .318 and he had a .382 OBP. Allen led the league in total bases with 352. Allen ranked 3rd in the majors in fWAR with 8.2, behind Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Ron Santo.
Mike Piazza- 1993
The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Mike Piazza as a personal favor from Tommy Lasorda. Boy, did that work out nicely. In Piazza’s rookie season in 1993, he hit 35 home runs and drove in 112 batters. He hit 18 home runs before the All-Star break, which was a Dodger record until Joc Pederson passed him in 2015. Piazza batted .318 and got on base at a .370 mark. Piazza won the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Pete Alonso- 2019
During the 2019 season, New York Mets first basemen Pete Alonso broke the NL rookie home run record. Cody Bellinger hit 39 home runs in 2017, however as of August 2019, Pete Alonso has 40 home runs (with over a month left in the season). Alonso also broke Bellinger’s rookie pre-All-Star break home run record of 25, with 30 at the All-Star break. Alonso had broken the New York Mets rookie home run record for a full season (26) before July had even started.
Minnie Miñoso- 1951
Minnie Miñoso was the first black baseball player in Chicago White Sox history. In 1951, Miñoso batted .326 with a .422 OBP. He scored 112 runs while leading the league in triples (14) and stolen bases (31). He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and fourth in MVP voting.
Carlton Fisk- 1972
Catcher Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox hit 22 home runs his rookie season, while batting .293 and getting on base at a .370 clip. He led the AL in triples with 9, the last catcher to lead the league in this category. Fisk would win the Gold Glove for catcher and AL Rookie of the Year.